Planning Commission Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
July 26, 2004
called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.
Previous Meetings’ Minutes
June 28, 2004
Regular Meeting: no changes were requested
Motion: by Mr. Kapriva to approve the minutes as
submitted. Seconded by Mr. Lind.
Vote: Approved 3-0.
Mr. Briggs abstained since he had not attended the
on street parking in Pembrook Woods Subdivision –
Review and Recommendation to the Board of
Mr. Lucas provided
the staff presentation. Mr. Lucas stated that
Developer, Buckeye Development, requested a special
exception allowing narrow pavement widths and a dry
swale system instead of the traditional curb and
gutter system that would normally be required by the
Town’s Subdivision regulations. That special
exception was granted and the Developer agreed to a
plat restriction which prohibits on street parking
in the development.
Mr. Lucas continued
that Brookfield Drive is 30’ wide while the other
streets in the development are 24’ wide. Based on
these widths, on street parking would not be
permitted based on the requirements of Town
Ordinance 16.16.030 which requires a pavement width
of 34’ for single side parking and 40’ for parking
on both sides of the street.
Mr. Lucas stated that
24’ of paving might be adequate to allow some
parking but that two actions would have to be taken
in order to allow on street parking in the
Mr. Staiger asked
Mr. Lucas to review the specific, current
requirements of the ordinance. Mr. Briggs briefly
discussed some of the history of the approval
process of the subdivision over the last 15 years.
Mr. Kapriva asked if changes would be specific to
the Pembrook Woods Subdivision. Mr. Lucas responded
that changes to the ordinance should apply to the
entire town while the correction plat would be
specific to the Pembrook Woods Subdivision. Mr. Lind
asked if the changes would require curb and gutter
to be placed in Pembrook Woods. Mr. Lucas replied,
not necessarily, although the current situation
arose from accepting the Developer’s proposed storm
water management system.
4125 Carrick Court, stated she was a registered
nurse and that although she appreciated the
technical discussion of the issue she wanted to
speak from a health and safety standpoint. Ms.
Armacost felt that on street parking on an on going
basis would be detrimental due to the children
playing in the community but would like to see some
compromise that might allow some event parking and
asked that the Commission take in to account the
well being of the children.
Rose Luczak, 2030
Pembrook Court, spoke in favor of some on street
parking subject to a) restriction to one side of the
street, b) no parking on Brookfield Drive due to the
volume of traffic, c) no overnight parking or some
sort of time restriction to control long term
parking, d) allowance for some overflow guest
parking since no provision was made for this in the
community, and, e) ensure compliance to codes
regarding parking in proximity to fire hydrant, stop
Brookfield Drive, Pembrook Woods HOA Secretary,
commented that the HOA had sent out an e-mail to 60
of the members of the community and had received
approximately 25 responses. Two were in favor of
unrestricted parking while two favored no change.
The balance supported some sort of short term
special event parking. Most residents seem to have
some concerns with unrestricted on street parking.
All houses have 4 driveway and 2 garage spaces for
parking. Due to the fact no usable common space of
play areas were provided, children use the streets
for playing and bike riding. Concerns were raised
about children competing for space on the roads and
potential damage to the dry swale system. Need to
consider how any special event parking would be
Pembrook Court, stated that parking on the streets
in Pembrook Woods would be counter to the low impact
design standards adopted and that parking on the
streets would inevitably lead to parking on the
grass which might damage the swales. From a safety
standpoint, due to the low impact design, streets
have become an extension of the “pedestrian way”
since streets are narrower and in many cases
sidewalks don’t exist. Mr. Soter also expressed
concern about access of fire vehicles if on street
parking was allowed.
(Commissioner, Town of Emmitsburg) 3010 Stonehurst
Drive, stated he was a resident of section one of
Pembrook Woods, also had children, and was
previously on the Pembrook Woods HOA Board.
Commissioner O’Neil commented that the road size was
reduced due to successful lobbying by the Developer
and that the parking situation became an issue early
on. The reason was that a number of other residents
were cited including himself and his visitors on a
number of occasions over a period of a year.
Commissioner O’Neil commented that parking was not
sufficient and that he only had space for two cars
in the garage and four cars in the driveway maximum.
He stated that 15 or 17 cars received citations at
his daughter’s birthday party, that 6 cars received
citations on a separate occasion, and that he was
warned to move cars off the street around
Thanksgiving or Christmas. Commissioner O’Neil said
his understanding was that citations were no longer
being issued until the town took control of the
roads but that it will become an issue for the
residents of Pembrook Woods in the future.
Commissioner O’Neil described how the previous Town
Commissioners had tied 2-2 when voting whether to
address this issue so the current policy has
continued. He stated that he is the Commissioner who
brought this issue back because a way needs to be
found to provide adequate parking commenting that
the Developer saved approximately $600,000 using the
swale system and reducing road widths. Commenting
that it was not fair to have parking on only on one
side or both he recommended alternating by day,
allowing the purchase of special permits from the
town, or parking on holidays with no permit. He
agreed that it would not be good to park on the
grass but felt it would be the responsibility of the
homeowner to keep an eye out. He concluded by
stating that this situation has been thrust on the
homeowners, that he has heard from a number of
people in the past and that he felt very strongly
that something must be done to address parking in
Mike Hoffman, 2025
Pembrook Court, Pembrook HOA Vice President, Mr.
Hoffman felt there was a need for some form of
special events parking since there is no overflow
parking in the development and no ability to have
any. He felt the roads were not wide enough to
support parking on both sides of the street. Mr.
Hoffman also stated that he didn’t believe swale
damage would be an issue unless there was parking
deep into the swale and that the HOA could police
ruts with the homeowners. He believed there should
be some sort of time limit to parking and that the
side of the street to be parked on could be
regulated by the time of year as is in Cumberland,
MD. He felt Brookfield Drive could be used for
Mr. Kapriva asked
Mr. Lucas about the possibility of having “special
event permit parking.” Mr. Lucas responded that this
was not currently done within the town but it might
be possible to establish a permit system charging a
fee for the service. He noted that the plat
restriction still exists at this time. Mr. Lind
asked if the residents had been aware of the parking
restrictions when making the decision to purchase
lots. Mr. Soter said yes. Mr. O’Neil said no. Mr.
Staiger said he wasn’t sure. Mr. Hoffman said he had
the impression it was something you were only told
if you asked. Mr. Briggs commented that the welfare
and safety issue raised by residents were important
and would like to get broader input from the
residents although there seemed to be some need for
a special event parking. Mr. Staiger addressed the
need to change the existing plat and the existing
ordinance prior to addressing how to manage any
parking. Mr. Lind asked if this was the same as a
special exception. Mr. Lucas responded that changes
should effective town wide. Mr. Briggs stated again
that he would like to hear from more residents. Mr.
Kapriva stated that he would like to hear from the
Chairman Staiger that the Planning and Zoning
Commission investigate a regulated, special event
parking process for the town. Seconded by Mr.
Vote: 2 in
favor (Staiger / Kapriva) vs. 2 opposed (Briggs /
The motion was not carried.
Vice Chairman Briggs to address the process for
changing the existing Pembrook Woods Subdivision
plat prior to investigating a regulated, special
event parking process for the town. Seconded by Mr.
Vote: 3 in
favor (Briggs / Kapriva / Staiger) vs 1 opposed
The motion was approved.
Free Standing Signs in Village Zone (VZ) Review and
Recommendations to the Mayor and Board of
Mr. Lucas commented
that the current sign ordinance tightly regulates
the placement of free standing signs. An applicant
has approached the Board of Commissioners asking for
a change and this has been forwarded to P&Z for a
Mr. Kapriva asked
if there were any additional arguments that had not
been addressed previously. Mr. Lucas responded that
he was not aware of any but there seemed to be some
concern that the business community felt the 35 foot
setback provision was arbitrary. Two requests are
with the Planning Department according to Mr. Lucas.
Mr. Briggs stated
that he understands that businesses want to get
their names out where they can best be seen. He
noted that Pizza Hut had previously been denied a
free standing sign based on the current ordinances.
Mr. Lucas commented
that there have been two recent requests that he is
aware of - one about three months ago and one
pending now. He noted that, in staff’s opinion,
signage placed on the structures as permitted by the
current ordinances would be adequate.
Mr. Staiger noted
that it was not unusual for municipalities to
regulate signage and that different standards could
be seen from Route 40 in Frederick, to Main Street
on Taneytown, to restrictive controls such as in
Columbia, MD. Mr. Lucas then stated that the
placement of signage, not the size, was at issue. He
said that all that was in question was where signs
could be located on the property. Mr. Staiger then
asked Mr. Lucas exactly what the commission was
being asked to address and asked if there was an
applicant to speak on the issue. Mr. Lucas stated
that no one was here to speak on the issue.
Commissioner Bill O’Neil asked to speak and was
recognized. He noted that there were exceptions to
the current ordinance such as the Carriage House
Restaurant and that signs on the street do help
business. He stated that the general consensus is
that Emmitsburg would like to foster business in the
Village Zone and that like it or not, Emmitsburg has
a carriage, not a pedestrian, trade. The question,
he continued, is if Emmitsburg wants to improve our
businesses. People aren’t walking by, they are
driving by and if they don’t see your business,
they’ll go someplace else. His concern was that a 35
foot setback is too great and a sign wouldn’t be
seen. He offered the signs found in Gettysburg as a
possible standard and presented examples of what
might or might not be allowed.
Mr. Lind then asked
Mr. Lucas what might be substituted for the 35 foot
setback requirement. Mr. Lucas discussed possible
criteria from the current requirement to just beyond
the public right of way.
Mr. Soter, from the
audience, mentioned the possibility of establishing
a locational variance which could be addressed on a
case by case basis.
commented that changes to the ordinance affecting
the Village Zone would effect more than just the
Main Street and North/South Seton corridors and that
changing the ordinance opens the Commission up to
challenges based on what any individual thinks is
fair and reasonable or is an acceptable design. He
then requested a motion for recommendation to the
Mayor and Board of Commissioners.
Mr. Kapriva stated
that since none of the people concerned were present
to address the issue, he thought no change should be
made and offered a motion.
Mr. Kapriva that no change in the Sign Ordinance is
recommended at this time. Seconded by Mr. Lind.
Approved - 2 in favor (Kapriva & Lind), 1 opposed (Staiger),
1 abstention (Briggs)